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THE FU YI LIDING
A BRONZE RITUAL TRIPOD FOOD VESSEL
THE FU YI LIDING
A BRONZE RITUAL TRIPOD FOOD VESSEL
THE FU YI LIDING
A BRONZE RITUAL TRIPOD FOOD VESSEL
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THE FU YI LIDING A BRONZE RITUAL TRIPOD FOOD VESSEL

LATE SHANG DYNASTY, ANYANG, 12TH-11TH CENTURY BC

Details
THE FU YI LIDING
A BRONZE RITUAL TRIPOD FOOD VESSEL
LATE SHANG DYNASTY, ANYANG, 12TH-11TH CENTURY BC
The tri-lobed body is raised on three columnar legs, and is cast above each leg with a large taotie mask with rounded eyes flanked by a pair of descending dragons, all reserved on a leiwen ground. A pair of inverted U-shaped handles rises from the rim. One side of the interior is cast with a three-character inscription. The bronze is of reddish-brown color.
8 ¼ in. (21 cm.) high
Provenance
Yamanaka and Co., Kyoto, 1971.

Lot Essay

The inscription consists of two characters, fu yi, preceded by a composite clan sign. Fu yi is a dedication which means 'dedicate this vessel to' Fu Yi (Father Yi). The Shang people assigned one of the ten Celestial Stems that each correspond to one day in a ten-day week to their deceased ancestors. Some scholars suggest this association is based on the ancestors’ birth dates, while others suggest it corresponds to the dates when they received offerings. The clan sign is a combination of a pair of ears, which is known from a number of bronzes as a clan sign by itself, reading tie, and a rectangle with a horizontal stroke in the center. A late Shang fangyi with an identical clan sign and Fu Yi dedication, is illustrated by Huang Jun in Yezhong pianyu erji (Treasures from the Ye [Anyang] Series II), Peking, 1937, vol. 1, p. 11. This fangyi and the present liding are both from the late Shang capital, Anyang, and are likely to have been made for the same person.

Liding with large, relief-cast taotie masks on each lobe of the body represent one of the most popular vessel types in the late Shang and early Western Zhou periods. Two very similar liding, from the Sackler Collection, are illustrated by R. Bagley in Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington, D. C., 1987, pp. 486-91, nos. 93 and 94. In his entry for the one of the Sackler liding, no. 93, Bagley illustrates seven related liding to support his assertion that there was a "wide geographic distribution of the type in late Anyang times", with a continuation into the early Western Zhou period.

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